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Health ministry issues safety guidelines for festival season

People celebrate Pchum Ben at a pagoda in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district last year.
People celebrate Pchum Ben at a pagoda in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district last year. Hong Menea

Health ministry issues safety guidelines for festival season

As Cambodia prepares for the 15-day Kan Ben festival, scheduled from September 30 to October 14, the Ministry of Health has issued guidelines to ensure public well-being.

The ministry highlighted the significance of the festival on September 19, describing it as the Kingdom’s most notable religious and national event. In the notice, it emphasised the importance of individual responsibility in preventing the spread of diseases, including food poisoning, alcohol-related incidents and Covid-19.

“We have to maintain good personal hygiene and ensure safety by washing hands before preparing meals and doing so regularly. Avoid consuming expired products,” the notice said.

The public was further cautioned against purchasing or consuming rice wine with unclear origins or those of subpar quality, citing instances where such products had proven fatal.

The ministry also offered advice on avoiding respiratory diseases, colds and other contagious illnesses.

“Avoid densely packed areas, especially in markets or during ceremonies, to prevent overcrowding,” the guidelines advised.

There were additional warnings about avoiding unnecessary visits to poultry coops, making direct contact with animals at farms or markets and avoiding surfaces contaminated with animal waste.

“Local authorities must uphold strict protective measures and ensure that edible items prepared at pagodas are safe to prevent foodborne illnesses,” the ministry added.

Khuong Sreng, the Phnom Penh municipal governor, further instructed the capital’s health department to make adequate provisions.

“The department should be prepared with medical staff, medicine, equipment and ambulances at public places in case of emergencies.”

Sreng also advised coordination with the municipal and military police for security.

“They need to ensure safety and public order before, during and after the celebrations so people can enjoy the festivities wholeheartedly,” he added.


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